Kilkenny History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Kilkenny comes from the Irish Mac Giolla Chainnigh, meaning the son of a servant or devotee of St. Canice, also known as St. Kenny. The place name Kilkenny, is also derived from the saint; in Irish it is Cill Chainnigh, meaning the church of St. Canice.

Early Origins of the Kilkenny family

The surname Kilkenny was first found in County Derry, where the sept was of the Cenel Eoghain group.

Saint Cainnech or Cannicus (d. 598?), was "Abbot of Achadh-bo, and the patron saint from whom Kilkenny (Cill-Cainnech) receives its name, has been generally identified with the more famous St. Kenneth or Kenny, to whom so many Scotch churches have been dedicated. Most of the early authorities state that he died between 598 and 600 A.D., at the age of eighty-four. This gives from 514 to 516 as the year of his birth." [1]

The St. Canice branch of whom they were originally followers, came from Dromachose, County Derry. Of this branch, David de Kilkenny, was Bishop of Achonry, County Sligo (1312 to 1344.) Ironically the name is not taken from the town in Leinster or the county named Kilkenny. References to the surname were rare throughout history. [2]

Early History of the Kilkenny family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kilkenny research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1690 and 1866 are included under the topic Early Kilkenny History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kilkenny Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Kilkenny, MacKilkenny, MacElhinny, MacElheeny, MacIlhenny and many more.

Early Notables of the Kilkenny family (pre 1700)

Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kilkenny Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kilkenny migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kilkenny Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Kilkenny, who was listed as a British Alien in New York during the War of 1812
  • Timothy Kilkenny, who was also listed as a British Alien during the War of 1812
  • Timothy Kilkenny, aged 31, who landed in South Carolina in 1812 [3]
  • Edward Kilkenny, who landed in New York, NY in 1817 [3]
  • P. Kilkenny, who arrived in New York in 1823
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kilkenny Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Bridget Kilkenny, aged 17, who landed in America from Athlone, Ireland, in 1906
  • Annie Kilkenny, aged 24, who immigrated to America from Kilkelly, Ireland, in 1908
  • Bridget Kilkenny, aged 19, who settled in America from Ballymacward, Ireland, in 1910
  • Annie Kilkenny, aged 32, who settled in America from Ballyhaunes, Ireland, in 1911
  • Annie Kilkenny, aged 17, who immigrated to the United States from Ballyhaunis, Ireland, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Kilkenny migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kilkenny Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Kilkenny who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Marchioness of Bute" departing 10th June 1847 from Belfast, Ireland; the ship arrived on 31st July 1847 but he died on board [4]

New Zealand Kilkenny migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Kilkenny Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Mary Kilkenny, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Josephine Willis" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th February 1855 [5]
  • Mr. Matthew Kilkenny, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Josephine Willis" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th February 1855 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kilkenny (post 1700) +

  • Jane Kilkenny (b. 1963), American special effects specialist, known for her work on The Day after Tomorrow (2004), Spiderman (2002) and others
  • John Kilkenny, Executive Vice President at Twentieth Century Fox who oversaw the Academy Award winning effects on Avatar
  • Krist Kilkenny, two-time Daytime Emmy nominated editor for her work on Between the Lions (1999)
  • John Francis Kilkenny (1901-1995), United States federal judge
  • Patric Kilkenny, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Mt. Kisco, New York, 2013 [6]
  • Tony Kilkenny (b. 1959), Irish retired sportsperson
  • Greg Kilkenny (b. 1983), Irish soccer player
  • Orla Kilkenny, Irish camogie player
  • Niamh Kilkenny, Irish camogie player
  • Ollie Kilkenny (b. 1962), retired Irish sportsperson
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Kilkenny family +

RMS Lusitania


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 83)
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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